Frank Morris Quoted in Article, “Your Wellness Program May Get Way More Important”

Business & Legal Resources

Frank C. Morris, Jr., a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Employee Benefits practices, in the Washington, DC, office, was quoted in an article titled "Your Wellness Program May Get Way More Important."

Following is an excerpt:

Frank Morris, an attorney who specializes in benefits, points to a study showing that for every $1 an employer spends on a wellness program, it saves $3 in insurance claims and an additional $2.73 in reduced absenteeism. ?...

There is no statutory definition of a wellness program, even in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Programs can include initiatives that are conditioned on a health status factor such as smoking or overweight, or on general health. But any program faces a number of barriers contained in HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act), and GINA (the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act). ?...

Attorney Morris notes that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets the ADA and has so far refused to take a position on the place of health risk assessments under the law, as it refused to do in this case. That eased the judges' ruling. The upshot? Morris and others recommend that you attach your wellness program to your healthcare benefit plan. ?...

The ACA may also remove the voluntary aspect of wellness program restrictions, predicts Morris. ?...

But the biggest impact of wellness programs, he feels, will be on mitigating the impact of what's been dubbed the "Cadillac tax." Beginning on January 1, 2018, he explains, insurance companies and plan administrators of self-insured plans will face a 40 percent nondeductible tax on so-called Cadillac healthcare coverage. That's any plan that costs at least $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family, including both employee and employer contributions. Such expensive plans may provide good care, but under the ACA, they're simply too pricey.